Researchers step up fight against parasites

Drug maker Boehringer Ingelheim will collaborate with universities in Scotland and Germany

Pharmaceutical giant Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health is teaming up with a Scottish university and another European institution to find better treatments for parasitic diseases.

The partnership, announced Monday, aims to improve the health of large and small animals and simultaneously reduce the economic losses of livestock producers dealing with parasites.

“The situation with these diseases is not dissimilar to what we see in neglected human diseases, where existing treatments are often ineffective and increasingly subject to parasitic resistance,” said Paul Wyatt, a professor at the University of Dundee in Scotland and director of its Drug Discovery Unit. “[We] desperately need to find new drugs that can treat these diseases.”

Joining the effort is the Institute for Parasitology and Tropical Veterinary Medicine at Free University of Berlin in Germany.

“The increasing problem of antiparasiticide resistance, which represents a major threat for animal health and productivity, is a key research area at our institute,” said director and Professor Georg von Samson-Himmelstjerna.

“The finding of novel, resistance-breaking compounds is of ultimate importance for the successful future control of parasitic diseases.”

Financial details of the arrangement, including any investment by Germany-based Boehringer Ingelheim, were not disclosed.

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